Tag Archives: draft communications data bill

Official: the snoopers’ charter is dead in this parliament

One element missing from the Queen’s Speech was the Communications Data Bill, aka the ‘snoopers’ charter’. No surprise to Lib Dems: Nick Clegg torpedoed it last month.

So I had a momentary spasm of concern to see on ConservativeHome this story from Mark Wallace: The Snoopers’ Charter comes sneaking back. Again.

I asked Lib Dem MP Julian Huppert (who’s played a crucial role in safeguarding civil liberties this parliament, including on this Bill) if there were any truth in it, and got an immediate reply…

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Nick Clegg: Snoopers’ charter is not going to happen with Liberal Democrats in Government

Julian Huppert has already joyfully welcomed Nick Clegg’s decision to veto Tory plans on web snooping. However, I thought I’d give you the chance to hear Nick Clegg’s words from Call Clegg this morning. I certainly wasn’t expecting such an unequivocal statement. He has given himself no wiggle room at all. This is what he said:

What people have dubbed the snoopers’ charter, I just have to be clear with you, that’s not going to happen. In other words, the idea that the Government will pass a law which means there would be a record kept of every website you visit,

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Julian Huppert MP writes…I agree with Nick. He’s right to kill the Snoopers’ Charter

On 18th March 2010 Nick Clegg gave a speech to Privacy International about Lib Dem plans to roll back the surveillance state.  He said:

 The Conservatives talk a good game on privacy but scratch beneath the surface and it is clear they cannot be trusted to roll back Labour’s surveillance state… Only the Liberal Democrats will bring an end to the endless snooping on innocent people.

We committed ourselves at the last election to ending ID cards, curbing CCTV and stopping the Home Office encroachment into our lives. Enough of citizens as suspects. Enough of “endless snooping” by the Government.

One of our …

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Julian Huppert MP writes … Communications Data Bill cannot proceed

Last week the Home Secretary claimed that anyone who opposes the Draft Communications Data Bill, dubbed the Snoopers Charter, was supporting paedophiles and terrorists.

She argued, “Criminals, terrorists and paedophiles will want MPs to vote against this bill. Victims of crime, police and the public will want them to vote for it. It’s a question of whose side you’re on.”

We’ve heard that argument before. Tony Blair used similar arguments to

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Clegg set to veto Communications Data Bill

Excellent:

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Is this the week Nick Clegg will ditch support for the draft Data Communications Bill?

The days of the draft Data Communications Bill (aka internet snoopers’ charter) may well be numbered if reports in the last few days are true that Nick Clegg is about to ditch the controversial plans. Here’s the BBC’s James Landale:

Party sources say leader Nick Clegg is ready to use a parliamentary report, due out next week, to oppose the plans. The draft Communications Data Bill would allow police access to details of people’s email and internet use,

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Oh dear. Interception of Communications Commissioner does it again

I’ve blogged just once or twice or thrice about the many failings of the Interception of Communications Commissioner and his dreadful record, failing to ask the right questions, unwilling to investigate evidence of widespread abuses and ignoring questions over cost.

And now he’s spoken out over the highly controversial Draft Communications Data Bill – not against its extensive online snooping provisions or even to call for stronger safeguards (such as to remedy his own failures to look into strong evidence that …

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Information Commissioner sounds warning over Draft Communications Data Bill

An important intervention today in the debate over the Draft Communications Data Bill. The Information Commissioner has issued a strongly-worded warning about its impact if implemented:

Plans to monitor all Britons’ online activity risk uncovering “incompetent criminals and accidental anarchists” rather than serious offenders, the information commissioner has warned…

Christopher Graham said the “really scary people” could simply avoid detection by changing their behaviour…

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LibLink: Mark Pack – The Home Office has got it wrong about online snooping ‘safeguards’

The Voice’s Mark Pack has taken to the (web)pages of The Spectator to dispute the case put by Home Office Minister James Brokenshire about the Draft Communications Data Bill:

What do you do if a regulator has failed? Leave them unreformed and instead give them greater powers? That is the line Home Office Minister James Brokenshire is arguing.

The regulator in question is the Interception of Communications Commissioner and the powers relate to online monitoring. For the Draft Communications Data Bill would not only give the government far more scope to monitor what we do online, but Brokenshire also argues we should be

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Opinion: Who’s phoning who? (with apologies to Aretha Franklin)

A year ago I heard that six degrees of separation are now down to four courtesy of the internet and social media. Some, if not most, in politics are “connectors”, people who know many and who like introducing them to each other, who make friends fast, keep them for life and remember all about them; that’s not just true of politics, but of successful people in most walks of life.

Will there be any point in let’s say 12 years time, in keeping information on who has been in touch with whom during the previous year? I choose 12 to match …

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What Lib Dem members think about internet surveillance and free speech

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 560 party members responded, and we’re publishing the full results. (Apologies for the delay in reporting this one, by the way: slipped through the net.)

68% Lib Dem members oppose Draft

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In other news… Thurso on banking, Ward on immigration, Swales on G4S & other stories

Here’s a round-up of stories we haven’t had time to cover on the site this past few days…

John Thurso MP to lead banking inquiry (John O’Groat Journal)

CAITHNESS, Sutherland and Easter Ross MP John Thurso has been elected to lead an inquiry into how the banking system is run. The Lib Dem politician has been chosen as one of five representatives who will

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Two people wrongly detained after communications interception errors

For the last decade and more, the publication of the Interception of Communication Commissioner’s Annual Reports has gone largely unremarked, even when they have contained news of copious errors or news (by omission) of a Commissioner not investigating evidence of widespread breaking of the rules he is meant to oversee (see my previous posts).

This year, however, with the Draft Communications Bill hanging over us and given a helping hand by a deft MP, it is rather different, as this sampling of coverage shows:

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Lib Link: How does David Cameron charm the Liberal Democrats?

Over at his day job at MHP Communications, Mark Pack turns his thoughts to how David Cameron should react to , stating that the Prime Minister has ‘two tricky problems to mull over’.

The first, and most talked about, is how to get his party to back some measure of Lords reform else risk seeing Liberal Democrats outside ministerial ranks (and even some inside) see it as open season on future legislation as it goes through Parliament. The sort of effective and tight whipping operations that saw Liberal Democrats in both Houses votes for a range of measures they did

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Why doesn’t Theresa May want mandatory tracking of all cars?

Because it is an absurd idea may well be your answer to that question even before you’ve reached the end of it. But bear with me a moment.

Imagine a government policy to have mandatory tracking devices in all motor vehicles, which would record all the journeys and store the data. The data would normally be private but could be accessed by the police and others if they subsequently discovered a reason to suspect someone. (You may be able to guess where I am going with this…)

It would cost a fair …

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Julian Huppert MP writes… Draft Communications Data Bill: send me your evidence

Today is the first meeting of the Joint Committee on the Draft Communications Data Bill. Over the next few months, we’ll be taking evidence from key witnesses, and making recommendations to the Government about how the Bill should change.

As I’m sure you all know, the Bill as it stands is simply unacceptable. It’s vital, therefore, that we’re asking the right questions and posing the right, technical solutions from the off.

The Committee will run a formal, public call for evidence starting very shortly. The more evidence we get, the better, so my first request is that every single Member with an …

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Julian Huppert MP writes… Libel reform is an admirable prize for Liberal Democrats

In my experience, Second Reading debates are often lengthy affairs. Everyone wants to say their piece; few have something new to contribute.

The second reading of the Defamation Bill last week was no exception. We even heard the odd diatribe against threatening behaviour and internet trolls; some of which belied a complete misunderstanding of what we were actually debating.

But, for once, there was some clear consensus. In the words of John Kampfner, the chief executive of Index on Censorship:

When we launched the Libel Reform Campaign in 2009, only the Liberal Democrats backed change. Now the cause has cross party support.

Campaigned …

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Julian Huppert MP writes… Communications data: we have to get this right

Many years ago my father gave me some advice: ‘don’t get it right, get it written’. If you want to do something properly you need to have a draft. That way you can go back and improve it.

Today sees the publication of the Draft Communications Data Bill. It is a first version, not a final text, and one which will be given the time and proper processes to change. It’s hard to overemphasise how different that is to the usual Parliamentary process.

A special Select Committee will go through the issues raised in the Bill, and make suggestions on how to improve it. I’ll be on that Committee, and between now and November we will be asking experts and members of the public to comment on it, and suggest where it needs to be changed.

It’s thanks to Lib Dem pressure that we now have a vital opportunity to get this right. If left to itself, the Home Office would simply have announced this Bill – or something worse – as a fait accompli, and whipped people to support it. Nick Clegg intervened to stop that from happening.

And already the Draft Bill is better than the one the Home Office proposed, as revealed a few months ago. Already there are more safeguards than there were going to be – but we are not there yet.

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